Emerging Paid Channels In SEA: Where To Find Your Next Customers

by Melissa Yik, Account Director at M&C Saatchi Performance

The accelerated digital consumption driven by COVID-19 has led to a new wave of advertising inventory that brands can leverage to connect with their audiences. Due to the growing number of people staying at home, there has been a drastic change in customer behavior. While many industries have come to a halt due to restrictions on movement, both internationally and locally, others are benefiting from an increasing reliance on digital consumption. In particular, there has been growth in app categories across e-commerce, fitness, streaming, gaming, and entertainment. In this scenario, what are the most effective emerging channels that brands can use to reach their audiences?


Since the beginning of 2020, the up and coming social media platform TikTok has gained exponential popularity with a large increase in global daily video views and an increasing average number of daily app opens. Creating and sharing trending short-form videos is seen as the ultimate time-passing activity. The main concern for brands when using TikTok for advertising purposes is the younger user base which might not be aligned with their target audiences. However, there is a growing indication that the userbase has expanded beyond just teenagers, as more people and families across various age groups hop on the TikTok bandwagon too. With the platform’s ability to apply age targeting on campaigns, brands can be sure that their advertising budget is going toward the right audience for their brand.


Over the Top (OTT) or Connected TV (CTV) placements are not new to the industry but with the current situation, consumption of such services has significantly increased, and it is now usual for one household to have multiple subscriptions services. According to a recent report by GWI, there has been a 50% increase in people watching streaming services in the main countries affected by COVID-19. China, the Philippines, Spain, and Italy have the highest increase in usage, over 50% in each country. This opens a good opportunity for brands to advertise on these platforms with increased supply inventory and greater reach due to a higher consumption rate.


Audio is on when screens are not. Over the past few years, there has been an increasing demand for digital audio in the form of music and podcasts, which has led to the rise of new audio streaming platforms. Unsurprisingly, this has attracted the attention of advertisers that can use these channels to reach their customers, personalizing ads based on the type of content they are listening to. According to the latest Podcast Trends Report, 55% of listeners say they’ve purchased something after hearing about it on a podcast. Adding digital audio advertising into media strategies allows brands to reach audiences in a space not yet oversaturated by competitors.


While it may be a less effective channel during these COVID-19 times, digital out-of-home (DOOH) is definitely one of the emerging paid channels every advertiser should look into. DOOH, which is available to be bought programmatically in SEA now, allows more precise targeting and measurement capabilities as compared to traditional OOHs and captures additional data points that allow further re-engagement and better efficiency toward performance goals.

The success of these emerging paid channels after COVID-19 will depend on whether the “new normal” is here to stay. During these sensitive times, businesses should use these channels considerately to avoid taking advantage of the situation. As consumer behavior patterns evolve with the easing of restrictions in Q2 2020, it will be interesting to see whether they will withstand the test of time or lead the way to a new wave of consumption.

Melissa Yik is Account Director at M&C Saatchi Performance. She will also be speaking at MGS GVC 1.0 about more emerging paid channels, giving insight into the channels and how to best use them. Learn more.